HOW MANY RAKATS FOR TARAWEEH PRAYER (QIYAM-UL-LAYL)?
The topic of praying taraweeh becomes a hot topic during the month of ramazan because of the misguidance that has plagued this ummah. Many still wrongly pray 20 rakats of taraweeh which is a clear innovation that is based on weak hadiths. The truth is praying 8 rakats is what that has been established. Let us analyze the story behind praying 20 rakats.
The prophet(sal) praying 23 rakats
There are a large number of false and fabricated hadiths which says that the prophet(sal) prayed 23 rakats.
there is a hadith where the hanafi madhhab famously quote.
narrated by iamam abu shaiba in his musannaf on the authority of ibn abbas(rali) saying-The prophet(sal) used to go back home and pray other extra rakats other than what he lead in the three days of jamaat.
This hadith is a fabricated hadith(mawdoo) because abul hakim is a liar and suyuti concludes it's a fabricated hadith.
Imam suyuti who is a sufi scholer and a blind follower of the shafi madhhab gave his final wording that the prophet(sal) never increased above 11 rakats nor did the sahaba increased above 11 rakats.
UMAR(RALI) PRAYING 20 RAKATS.
Narated by yazid ibn rahman:
People used to pray(during umar(rali's) khilafat) 23 rakats rakats of taraweeh
(narrated by imam baihaqi)
Imam baihaqi after narrating this hadith said that yazid ibn rahman did not live during the time of umar (rali)
he came later which means that he was not alive during the time of umar(rali). Imam baihaqi says this hadith has a broken line of narration. same judgement on this hadith was given by imam suyuti and other leading scolars who come to position that the hadith which says that umar(rali) lead the people in prayer during ramazan by praying 23 rakats is a daif(weak) hadith. The line of this narration is a maqtu narration(narration with a broken chain) as imam baihaqi and other scholars name it stating that the narration is broken to the point of which the narrator who said that at the time of umar(rali), people prayed 23 rakats did not witness the khilafat of umar(rali).
From this point it is clear that a person who did not witness this event is not worthy of narrating it. if he is narrating it, he should say of who who was witnessing it at the time when umar(rali) was supposed to be praying 23 rakats.
The above hadith has two weaknesses.
One is the weakness in the line of narration. The isnad is a broken narration that falls under hadith"munkati"
which falls under daif category.
Second is the weakness in the "matn"(text of the hadith). The hadith only says that during the khilafat of umar(rali) a group of people prayed 23 rakats. The khilafat of umar(rali) streched from the borders of indo-pakistan,from spain and the african continent. just because someone prays 23 rakats does not become the sunnah of umar(rali).
There are so many other weak and fabricated hadiths stating that the companions of the prophet(sal) prayed more than 11 rakats. one such hadith is the hadith of ali ibn abi talib(rali) in which he ordered a man leading them in ramazan to pray 20 rakats. This hadith is in baihaqi and imam dahabi said it's an unknown narration and imam baihaqi said that it is a weak narration. The innovators try to prove the praying of 20 rakats by using so many false hadiths and what is clear is, that no authentic evidence is there to prove that praying 20 rakats of taraweeh is a sunnah.
EVIDENCE FROM SAHIH HADITH THAT PRAYING 8 RAKATS IS THE SUNNAH
There is ample evidence to prove that praying 8 rakats of taraweeh is the sunnah. There is an authentic narration said by yazid(rali) of muwatta malik in which umar(rali) ordered ubay bin kahb and tamim at dahee to lead the people in prayer for the 11 rakats of taraweeh(8 rakats of taraweeh and 3 rakats of witr).
Narrated by ayisha(rali):
"Allah's messenger(sal) did not increase upon eleven rakats in ramazan(8 rakats of taraweeh and 3 rakats of witr)".
(sahih al bukhari,malik and abdul razzaq)
The statement of ayisha(rali) is confirmed by jabir ibn abdullah(rali) who mentiponed when the prophet(sal) led the people in prayer during ramazan, he prayed 8 rakats and the witr( reported by ibn hibban in his sahih,at tabarani in as sahih and many other books)
Aisha(rali)'s hadith mentioned above about the prophet(sal) not increasing above eleven rakats is further explained by Aisha(rali) her self in another hadith reported in Bukhari, Muslim and others including abu dawud with a saheeh isnad where Aisha(rali) was asked about the prophet)sal)'s night prayer during ramazan and she replied:
"Allah's messenger would not perform more than eleven rakat(for the night prayer) in ramazan or out of it. He would pray four rakat, but do not ask about how fine or long they were. Then he would pray another four rakat,but do not ask about how fine or long they were. Then he would pray three rakat.
During the time of the prophet(sal), the taraweeh prayers were prayed with his family members and a few others in congregation and he discontinued praying in congregation as he feared that it would be a burden for the people.(saheeh abu dawud authenticated by albani in irwa )
Later Umar(rali) revived this by gathering everyone to pray in congregation and ordering ubay bin kab and tamim ad dahee to lead the people in prayer(saheed al bukhari)
From this, it is evident that praying 20 rakats is an utter lie which has no basis and praying 8 rakats of taraweeh is the truth.